Gai Waterhouse backs Hunter horse breeders in fight against mining: VIDEO

THE top names in Australian horse racing have thrown their weight behind Hunter Valley communities fighting to stop land, water and agricultural industries being destroyed by coalmining.

The Hunter Valley Thoroughbred Breeders Association will launch a YouTube video today titled Save the Hunter Valley.

The four minute video contrasts scenes from picturesque Upper Hunter towns such as Scone, Murrurundi and Broke with images from the mining industry.

The video launch coincides with a print advertising campaign that urges the state government to reject the proposed Drayton South coalmine near Muswellbrook.

Leading trainers Gai Waterhouse, Bart Cummings and Peter Snowden, along with tourism and agricultural industry executives are supporting the campaigns.

‘‘These industries have been the backbone of the Hunter Valley’s diverse economy for generations. Supporting our communities through thick and thin, they are tough and resilient but there has never been such a threat as mining now poses in the Hunter Valley,’’ Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association Dr Cameron Collins said.

‘‘We cannot stand by and watch the Hunter Valley be destroyed. Thirty years ago mining was in the distance. Now it is at our doorstep. It affects every aspect of our lives – our air quality, our health, our water, our land and our livelihoods.’’

The Planning Assessment Commission recommended last December that Anglo Coal’s proposed Drayton South mine, which would come within a kilometre of the Coolmore and Darley studs, should not proceed.

The commission concluded the mine would threaten the thoroughbred breeding industry, the region’s economic diversity and air and water quality.

‘‘This is the first test of the government’s promises, new policies and processes to protect us. We have received strong support from industry leaders for our campaign to stop this mine. We hope the Government listens,’’ Dr Collins said.

It is estimated that more than 90per cent of the horses to be sold at this week’s Inglis Premier Easter Sales in Sydney will have been sired in the Hunter Valley.

‘‘Most people probably don’t realise that half of all the racehorses in Australia are born in the Hunter Valley,’’ Dr Collins said. 

‘‘Western Australia and South Australia have moved to protect their iconic industries, NSW should follow suit.’’

SAVE IT: A still picture taken from the campaign to protect Hunter Valley industries from further coalmining.

SAVE IT: A still picture taken from the campaign to protect Hunter Valley industries from further coalmining.

Cartoon by Peter Lewis

Cartoon by Peter Lewis

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